UNDERSTANDING THE STUDENT TEACHER, THE TEACHER EDUCATOR, AND THE CONTEXT
Mirriam Sampa, Moonga
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Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) empowers citizens to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society for both present and future generations. It is holistic and transformational and addresses learning environment, contents and outcomes as well as pedagogy. Teachers have a crucial role to play in integrating ESD in education and bringing about real and lasting change in society. They help shape the worldview and attitude of learners and develop their potential and skills to tackle the real-life challenges surrounding sustainable development. Since the launch of the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development in 2005, and the follow up Global Action Programme (GAP), significant progress has been made in embedding ESD in global education agendas, national policy and plans, and curricula. The Global Action Programme identified teacher education as one of its five priority action areas. Despite this, many teachers are still not sufficiently empowered to translate the concept of sustainability into practice. In 2015, new focus was placed on the importance of teachers as part of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community. The Sustainable Development Goal 4, on inclusive and equitable quality education, contains targets which aim to substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers with emphasis on their training, recruitment, deployment, remuneration, motivation and management, and which underline the importance of acquiring knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development. To be effective in translating sustainability into educational content and pedagogical approaches, student and inservice teachers, and teacher educators themselves must be conversant with contemporary issues of sustainable development. The guidebook on Education for Sustainable Development for Educators: Effective teaching and learning in teacher education institutions in Africa has been conceived as a tool to mainstream sustainability into all aspects of teacher education and training with useful information concerning teaching, learning and assessment approaches to help achieve the ESD goals and learning outcomes. I hope you will find it useful in enhancing institutional capacity and transforming the culture of teacher education institutions, which are key to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 and Education 2030 Agenda.